Seattle social worker stabbed to death by her client as city pushes to replace police with social workers

Law Enforcement Today:

“Horrifying” and “terrifying” are the words a prosecutor used to describe a deadly attack on a Seattle social worker. 

Just before 11 a.m. on November 23, a public housing resident showed up at an apartment complex in the Belltown neighborhood of the city. 

The Seattle Times reports that security footage shows the man walk into the building carrying grocery bags and then pull out a large knife. Carrying the weapon, he walked into the office of 42-year-old social worker Kristin Benson. 

A co-worker soon heard Benson screaming and she ran to help. 

Court documents say that the woman recognized her co-worker’s attacker. 

She identified the man as 58-year-old Hans Dewey Van-Belkum, and told investigators that he was making “punching/stabbing” motions at the victim as she was face down on the floor. 

The co-worker ran out of the office, later reporting that Van-Belkum chased her toward her office with knife in hand. 


The crime has rocked the liberal city, where residents and city leaders adamantly pushed to defund the police just months ago. 

Earlier this month, Law Enforcement Today reported on the fall out of that decision: 

“Nearly 120 officers have left the police force since the end of September.  Most were patrol officers, and either retired or transferred to other agencies.  

Seattle now maintains only 1,200 officers that are deployable for contingencies, the lowest number since 1990, when the city’s population was 516,000. Now the population has grown to 783,000, not to mention the explosion of the surrounding suburban areas increasing the number of citizens routinely inside the city limits.” 

Now, with security footage showing the beginnings of the savage attack on a public servant, people are questioning that decision and their own safety in the Pacific Northwest city. 

A woman who goes by “Laura T” on Twitter, posted: 

“So, there was this social worker in Seattle. She tried to de-escalate a homeless person. He stabbed her and killed her. No police, no guns, trained social worker. Seattle mayor and council are proud of their changes, am sure @AOC is too. Kristin Benson mattered too.” 

Read more at Law Enforcement Today

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